SPO 220303 UAE T 20 CRICKET-1646318126051
The jubilant UAE team arrived in Dubai after winning the ICC Twenty20 World Cup qualifiers in Oman. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: The UAE team have been flying high after booking a place in the Twenty20 World Cup to be played in Australia later this year. Skipper Ahmed Raza and talented batter Vriitya Aravind, two of the main architects, talks about UAE’s journey in the ICC T20 World Cup qualifiers in Oman.

It’s a dream come true for the UAE players, who have waited seven long years to showcase their skills on the world stage. Though the result has come after a long struggle and plenty of hardwork, one thing is common in the UAE dressing room. It’s a happy place to be right now as they work in unison with plenty of self-belief in their abilities, which helped them overcome Ireland, a strong opponent, repeatedly and with a measure of comfort.

“We have seen both ends of the spectrum. UAE were not able to register even one win against Ireland either in T20 or ODI in the past. Now we beat them in a ODI series and then five times on the trot in T20. Despite playing against a Test-playing nation, we would enter the game with confidence that we could beat them. Earlier I was part of the team that had plenty of doubt before entering the field. It’s due to the self-belief we have now,” said Ahmed Raza, the UAE skipper. “Five or six years ago we lacked the self-belief, but this dressing room is amazing. We don’t see any team superior to us,” Raza said identifying the reasons behind the transformation.

Teenager Vriitya Aravind’s words would only highlight what these bunch of players think as a team. On how he felt while missing a well-deserved century in the opener against Ireland, where the UAE was in trouble early on, the young batter replied without battling an eyelid: “I was about 50 or 60 before the last three overs and noticed that I was on 97 not out at the end of the 20th over. Any day I will take a victory over the century.”

Vriitya also added that in the crucial game against Bahrain, where they required eight runs in the last over to go past the net run rate to get into the next round he had the confidence and he hit 24 runs in that last over and almost won the game, which looked improbable at one time.

There’s more to the conversation. Watch the video …